Homegrown stars and World Cup veterans headline 2020 MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot
Best XI features eight first-time selections including record three Homegrown Players; Seven MLS clubs and seven countries represented in Best XI
NEW YORK (Friday, Nov. 20, 2020) – Major League Soccer today revealed the 2020 MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot, recognizing the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club technical staff. The 11 players named to the Best XI presented by The Home Depot hail from seven different countries and represent some of the league’s most exciting and accomplished talent comprised of Homegrown talents, international stars and breakout players. Seven different MLS clubs are represented by this year’s Best XI squad, all of which qualified for the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs – and for the first time in MLS history, three Homegrown Players have also been selected to the Best XI.
2020 MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot
Goalkeeper:Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders:Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders:Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Diego Chará (Portland Timbers), Nicolás Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC)
Forwards: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC)
For the first time in MLS history, three Homegrown Players make up part of the MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot, with Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie (both Philadelphia Union) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC) all named to the team. At age 20 years, 29 days, Aaronson is the youngest player ever selected to a Best XI.
The Philadelphia Union, who recorded the best overall record in Major League Soccer over the 2020 season, placed three players on the Best XI, including goalkeeper Andre Blake, the winner of the 2020 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Blake recorded a league best 0.88 goals against average as he was named to the MLS Best XI for a second time.
Another Union player is part of the MLS Best XI defensive group in McKenzie, who anchored the league’s best defense (with just 20 goals allowed in 23 games) in his third season in the league. Joining him is Walker Zimmerman, who won the MLS Defender of the Year honors after backstopping expansion Nashville SC to a berth in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season, the club setting a record for the best defensive performance by a first-year club in MLS history. The third member of the defensive group is Jonathan Mensah of Columbus Crew SC, a two-time World Cup participant who was named to the Best XI for a first time.
All five finalists for the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award have been named to the MLS Best XI, including two members of the midfield corps. Nicolás Lodeiro, one of three players from Seattle Sounders FC in the Best XI presented by The Home Depot, is a finalist for league MVP honors after also finishing in a tie for the assist lead with 10, becoming just the sixth player in MLS history to record 10 or more assists in at least four consecutive seasons. Alejandro Pozuelo of Toronto FC, also an MVP finalist, was named to the team for a second successive year, tying for the league lead with 10 assists while also finishing in a tie for eighth with nine goals. Along with Aaronson, who scored four goals and added seven assists in just his second MLS season after signing as a Homegrown Player, the midfield group also features Diego Chará of the Portland Timbers, who received his first Best XI nod in his 10th season in Major League Soccer.
Diego Rossi of Los Angeles Football Club, the winner of the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi with 14 goals in 2020, leads the forward trio. Rossi earlier this year also won the Golden Boot in the MLS is Back Tournament. Raúl Ruidíaz of Seattle Sounders FC finished in a tie for second place in the Golden Boot race with 12 goals, the third time in his three MLS seasons he’s scored 10 goals or more, joined by teammate Morris, who tied for fifth in the goals race with 10 for the season, in his fifth season after signing as a Homegrown Player.
Eight of the players named to the Best XI presented by The Home Depot are first-time selections, with Blake, Pozuelo and Zimmerman each making their second appearances. Three of the players (Lodeiro, Mensah, Ruidíaz) have played in the FIFA World Cup. In addition to the record three Homegrown Players, two were selected in the MLS SuperDraft, both in the first seven selections overall (Blake, No. 1, 2014; Zimmerman, No. 7, 2013). Among the seven countries represented on the Best XI, four are from the USA, two from Uruguay, with one each from Colombia, Ghana, Jamaica, Peru and Spain.